Singapore, Pandemic, Measures, Dining in, Conventions, Meetings

More stringent vaccination differentiated safe management measures will be carried out in hawker centres and coffee shops to allow up to five fully vaccinated individuals from the same household to dine-in together.

Singapore's Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced on Monday (15 November 2021), the calibrated easing of selected safe management measures (SMMs).

This includes a pilot of the vaccination differentiated safe management measures (VDS)+Test protocol starting with a few events; allowing dine-in of up to five individuals from the same households at hawker centres and coffee shops, and more.

The Taskforce also announced plans to extend the Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) to include India, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Read the full updates on these VTLs here.

Calibrated safe management measures announced on 15 November 2021:

Piloting the VDS+Test protocol

There will be greater allowance for more activities involving those who are less vulnerable and are fully vaccinated, subject to the additional requirement of testing before participation, i.e. a VDS+Test protocol.

As part of this, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or Antigen Rapid Test (ART) results must be reflected on TraceTogether, or performed/supervised by the event organiser or venue operator, either in person or virtually. 

This measure will start off with selected MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions), spectator sports, and live performance events, where capacity limits and zoning requirements will be eased in a calibrated manner. 

The Milken Institute Asia Summit (15-16 November 2021), the Bloomberg New Economy Forum (16-19 November 2021), and Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific 2021 (22-24 November 2021), will be the first to undergo these measures, followed by JJ Lin’s two-day charity live concert “After the Rain” (27-28 November 2021), and a ONE Championship martial arts event in the coming months.

More details on the requirements and safe management measures will be released by the respective event organisers.

The Taskforce shared that the outcomes of these pilots will be assessed before deciding how to expand the protocol to more events and settings, as part of a broader plan to allow safe resumption of further activities as Singapore moves towards being a COVID-19 resilient nation.

Dine-in for up to five from same household at hawker centres and coffee shops

More stringent VDS will be carried out in hawker centres and coffee shops, in consultation with the operators, to allow up to five fully vaccinated individuals from the same household to dine-in together after being checked in via SafeEntry.

However, the Ministry acknowledges that these are settings where implementation and enforcement are more challenging. As such, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has been engaging the Hawkers’ Associations and town councils on the measure, and the first group of hawker centres to put in place access control and checking systems will do so before the end-November.

For these hawker centres, upon implementation of these systems, fully-vaccinated individuals from the same household can dine in groups of five, just like other F&B establishments. The remaining hawker centres should then be able to follow soon after. 

As for coffee shops, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has similarly been engaging operators and will provide them with the option of putting in place a system to control access and check the status of their patrons, which will allow them to enjoy the concession for individuals from the same household to dine in groups of five. Otherwise, the prevailing group size of two will apply. 

For dine-in of up to five individuals from the same household, a list of acceptable documents to check for proof of residence, from NRIC and SingPass has expanded to the following approved Government digital apps: myICA and SGWorkPass.

New affordable self-test ART kits approved for use

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has been working with the relevant authorities and agencies to source for more high-quality and affordable self-test ART kits, to bring down costs while ensuring that those authorised for sale in Singapore continue to meet stringent safety and quality standards.

To this end, on 8 November 2021, the Health Sciences Authority had authorised the Flowflex ART kit under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR) for self-test use - bringing the total number of approved ART kits to nine.

Additionally, two other ART kits have been approved to undergo PSAR registration. The price of these kits is expected to be significantly below the current prices of ART kits, the MTF said.

Further allowances for migrant workers residing in dormitories 

In further updates, SMMs for migrant workers residing in dormitories will be eased now in a calibrated manner, by expanding their community visit programme and allowing daily visits to the recreation centres (RCs) for migrant workers.

This decision comes now that 98% of migrant workers residing in dormitories are fully vaccinated, and taking up booster vaccinations at an "encouraging pace" as they become eligible. COVID-19 infections in the dormitories have also  stabilised, with an average daily number of 143 migrant workers testing PCR positive in the last week. They also have to undergo weekly testing, regardless of vaccination status.

Hence, from 3 December 2021, the Ministry of Manpower will further ease restrictions for migrant workers residing in dormitories by expanding the community visit programme from 3,000 migrant workers per week to 3,000 vaccinated migrant workers per day to visit any location within the community, for up to eight hours per visit.

The necessary safeguards such as additional pre-event ART, i.e., before they leave their dormitories, remain in place as an added precaution.

RC visits will also be more accessible for migrant workers. They will be allowed to visit the RCs daily with an extended duration of eight hours per visit. This is up from the thrice-weekly cap on RC visits that is currently in place. Unvaccinated migrant workers are required to undergo a pre-visit ART to be allowed entry into RCs.

From mid-December, access to RCs will be increased, allowing migrant workers to visit any RCs of their choice. MOM is working with RC operators to increase the variety of activities at the RCs, such as organising screenings of movies and sports games, and putting in place processes to manage a larger number of visits from migrant workers. 

Photo / 123RF

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